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When French Women Cook: A Gastronomic Memoir Hardcover – May 8, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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My Halal Kitchen: Global Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Lifestyle Inspiration by Yvonne Maffei
"My Halal Kitchen: Global Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Lifestyle Inspiration" by Yvonne Maffei
Explore this bestselling cookbook filled with more than 100 diverse, popular, international recipes made with halal foods or halal substitutes along with tips on how to source them. Learn more
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Editorial Reviews

Review

An excellent book for reading, learning, and a bit of nostalgia. —Christian Science MonitorOn The New Making of a Cook: "This monumental, professional, thorough, and well-researched book is inspiring. Combining French savoir-faire-Cartesian thinking with American ingenuity, enthusiasm, and unconventionality, Madeleine Kamman has produced a remarkable work that will be edifying for any cook but essential for the serious culinary student." —Jacques P?©pin

About the Author

MADELEINE KAMMAN was born in Paris and started her culinary career in 1940 at her aunt’s restaurant in the Touraine region of France. A revered culinary instructor since 1962, Kamman has written two other books: Dinner Against the Clock and The New Making of a Cook.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; First Printing edition (May 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580083846
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580083843
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #823,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
OK I bought this book on a whim. I'm not sure why I bought it over the other dozens of books on french cooking/lifestyle that I read the reviews about. I suspect it was on someone's list and they made it sound appealing. I have read it (parts of it I have reread). I have cooked many recipes from it. The book is appealing.
First, the recipes are wonderful. The saute of wild mushrooms is the best. The browned veal stock took me alot of research on epicurious.com (reviewing other recipes) to fill in the missing steps. Once I experimented with it, I thought it was excellent. I never appreciated the importance of homemade stock until I read this book. Now I have lots of it ready for defrosting. But the book has more to offer than recipes.
This book is perhaps at its best in that it sheds light on a way of life that has passed or is passing. It provides insight into the very different regions and origins of the people of early twentieth century France. I came away with a new appreciation for the people and their cuisine. A very worthwhile investment.
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Format: Hardcover
`When French Women Cook' by Madeleine Kamman is one of the very best in a genre which may be called culinary anthropology, a genre closely related to the memoir and the survey of local cuisines, but still a bit different. It is more than a memoir in that it provides many useful recipes serving a much greater purpose than simply illustrations of an event or a point, as you find in, for example, Ruth Reichl's excellent memoirs. They are also a bit less than a full survey of a culinary terroir, as you may find in Paula Wolfert's excellent books, in that they tend to deal with the recipes of a specific group of people. The three other leading examples of this little genre are Patience Gray's `Honey from a Stone', Richard Olney's `Lulu's Provencal Kitchen', and Amanda Hesser's `The Gardner and the Cook'.

Madeleine Kamman is an odd duck in the pantheon of English language writers on French cuisine. She is really a cookbook author of the first order, especially with her excellent text `The New Making of a Cook', but she has always been a bit in the shadow of Julia Child, Elizabeth David, and Richard Olney. According to Child's biographer, there was even a substantial amount of rancor towards Child on Kamman's part, after the success of Child's book and TV shows and before Kamman achieved recognition with her original `The Making of a Cook'.

Like the other three notable books in this genre, this is a cookbook which is meant to be read from cover to cover. It's culinary content and its anecdotal introductions to each of the chapters are all great reading. The book tells the story of eight French women cooks, all of whom Mme.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is for anyone who has ever wished to learn how to cook at the skirts of a tiny, capable, traditional Grandmother but never got to.
The recipes are complicated, using crazy ingredients and completely not for anyone under the supervision of a cardiologist (every one consumes sticks upon sticks of butter, gobs of heavy cream and is usually wrapped in some sort of pork product.) But the memories are vivid, gorgeous and well worth the trip. I probably won't be roasting a hare anytime soon, or going on a hike to find my own mushrooms, but I love this book. It's a beautiful page from history that should be read by anyone who loves food and family and a splash or two of good French wine.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is so beautifully and poetically written that I wanted to go inside each chapter tribute and live each story.

I made the Heavy Cream Brioche, which mixes like a cake mix and bakes in a bundt pan. It was easy and delicious with a cake-like, crispy crust and a rich, tender crumb.

Wonderful cookbook! An absolute joy!
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Format: Hardcover
I first encountered this book through the aisles of my public library. I re-checked it so many times that I had to see if it was still in print. To my happy surprise it was. I love it for the great recipes and the warm and rich memories of a by-gone time; though I did find mention of a place I had travelled to on my honeymoon in 1996--a qaint little town called Annecy, in France. She described her experience much as I had recalled my own happy time there! This book is simply enchanting and everything I've made from it has been a rewarding and deliciously wonderful dining experience. Try the Green Beans Brittany Style or the simple Escarole Salad. Really good!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Madeleine Kamman was a local celebrity up where we used to live. She ran a cooking school for a while and "Madame" was said to be quite demanding--"Mean as a buzzard" said one student, who still admired her. She feuded with Julia Child, accused Paul Bocuse of stealing French grandmothers' cooking, and really, I don't think she has gotten the acclaim she deserves (mean or not) because her writing is stunning and her recipes are outstanding.

This is a person with deep memories of World War II and the changes in France, such as the rural backwater of Brittany, eventually was connected to Paris via the high speed train, and soon lost much of the handcrafted, natural foods that made this region so unique. This book covers these regions, including the Savoie, the French Alps--a region usually visited only by skiers and which has its own cuisine and foods. Each chapter is a region, with a memory of a woman who cooked there, someone close to Kamman. I loved the story of Eugenie in Alsace, where Kamman tracks down a family legend, Aunt Alwine. I lived near Alsace, and the distinctive and magnificent cuisine was something we explored with constant delight. So I have a good recipe here for "Flammkuche" (a kind of onion pizza), Lentil Soup with Bratwurst and Spaetzle. I have a lot of Badische (German) cookbooks with the same, but Kamman's versions are written up with such detail and commentary that they succeed.

Her writing and memoirs about these women and her life in various areas of France is as poignant as the writing of M. F. K. Fisher. Her cooking technique is of the highest caliber. This is one of my treasured books, and I replaced the copy I had lost over the years, when we moved back to the US. If you are interested in French cuisine, I highly recommend you read this. I don't think you will be disappointed. As for me, I read and re-read this simply for the essays. Let alone the recipes, everything from brioche to coquilles St. Jacques.
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